Storage Auctions

My adventures from the beginning

My adventures from the beginning
« on: May 22, 2013, 08:34:34 AM »
I am not a writer. I am not funny, and I am not flowery. But, I will tell you what I have done so far, and you can all offer your comments.

Started by doing my research. Basically, I wanted to know what NOT to do at an auction. Storage treasure, storage auction forums, all the regular auction websites, articles, youtube videos, etc. Fought my way through all the pay for the listings services. Decided to purchase one for a week long trial. (This was a good idea) Spent hours looking for public notices. All of this to get ready to go the first time.

So, I go to my first auction on Thursday May 16th. It is a Public Storage South Austin Caravan. I join at the 2nd location so that I could miss some traffic. Actually, I didn't miss traffic, the traffic caused me to be late! Anyway, lesson #1 for me, I am not ready to go shopping far from home. I had no intention of buying this day...but brought cash with me just in case. Lockers were all going for far more than I thought they were worth, so I was shocked. However, there were a couple that seemed closer to reasonable. I would have bid on one that went for $140 but it was early, and I wanted to see a few more before throwing my money in the ring. By the end of the day, I think I regretted not buying that one.

As the day wore on, the caravan got smaller. People left for all their various reasons, and I met a lot of nice people, and a lot of real a$$ buckets. I do not understand wanting to be an a$$. It does nobody any good, and it isn't going to run me off, because you aren't important enough for me to care if you want to be an a$$. I will focus on the nice people, and we will do better, and live happier.

At the end of the day, we had to make a drive out to Bee Caves for one unit, and most of the people did not go. I think about 8 of us were there, someone made an opening bid of $100, I made my first bid of $150, and I purchased a 5x10 for $150. Remaining folks looked at me like I was nuts, and of course I doubted my decision. "Oh crap, What did I do?" Oh well, I knew I saw what I saw, and I had to go to my daughters softball so I paid the man in the front, got my codes, and off I went. Mistake #2...leaving without getting a better idea of what was in there. I did NOT sleep well that night, I was like a kid the day before Christmas! While this anticipation was fun, I was tired the next day.

So, the next day I enlisted the assistance of a couple of family members, and we took the trailer down to dig for golden fortunes and the rainstorm of cash that was sure to come down on us!  :) Seriously, I did not have any out of line expectations. I am a weird cat in this age, I decided to get into doing this, before I watched the shows! I have friends who have done it for years, and I pretty much knew what to expect. We spent the day pulling stuff out. Found a WWII Frequency Meter that was a surprise. I found the birth certificate of the lady's son. This was obviously a single Mom. Found the Son's Parole paperwork. Found a large stack of 70's and 80's baseball cards, got all excited. Furniture was in worse shape than I expected, but there was a really nice dresser hidden in the rubble. It turned out better than I expected once I did a little rejuvenation on it. It is now in my bedroom at home and was worth the $150 to me alone. There was a jogging stroller which I thought would be worth more, oops. Of course the baseball cards were worthless. However, that was the golden era of baseball for me, as those were my little league years, and all my heroes were in there. Ricky Henderson, Dave Kingman, Nolan Ryan, Darryl Strawberry...none of the really sought after rookie cards, but still nice stuff, and some in great shape. So I was surprised by a lot of stuff I pulled out, the condition of things was worse than I thought, and I began to wonder if I had just let the end of the day get to me. No, I made an assessment, and I went with it. Turns out I was wrong on my assessments for a couple of things. No big deal, because the ones I over valued were outweighed by what I undervalued.

By the time I pulled the wood out, and did a little work on it, I knew my money was to be made in the wood. Three were a couple of really beat up pieces from the early 1900's that needed new drawer bottoms, and the frame needed to be reglued. There was another little desk that needed a leg reattached. And I still had to find out about this frequency meter thingy. No time to worry too much now as my neighborhood garage sale is the next morning! I got to work.

After a long night, I was ready to go in the morning. The driveway was full of someone else's garbage and priced accordingly. I started a free pile for people to pick through. I priced as much as I could. I looked up things I thought might have value. I pulled aside things I knew needed to go on ebay. I wheeled and dealed, and worked my tail off until about 1:00. In the end, I sold $470 worth of storage stuff. I still have a desk ($50), a dresser (keeping it), and about $100 worth of ebay stuff to sell. Plus, I have jogging stroller on CL for $50. It will sell eventually or else I will turn it into a sporting clays cart and keep it. Maybe I should make it into a cart and sell it. That could be another side line of business for me. Now, I just have to pack all this crap up, and move it to my storage unit. Man I am tired.

Auction #2
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 08:48:25 AM »
Day 2 of going to auctions. Today, I am ready to buy, but I am looking for something more specific. Of course, I don't know what that is exactly, but I am sure it is specific.  :-[

I have money in my pocket, and I feel like I am playing with house money now. If I had an accountant, I would be in the black for sure!

Today is Uncle Bob's storage caravan. I see alot of familiar faces from last week. Some of the nice people, like John and Bill a couple others who I don't have their names yet or forgot it already, and we have some good conversations and exchange contact info. I see some of the ass holes from last week, and I ignore them like I did last week. I don't want to talk to them, and they apparently don't want to be talked with, so we have a comfortable mutual agreement. I like it!

I am very impressed with the way Ace Auctions does their auction. It is much more efficient than Public Storage and it moves along much faster. I have to adjust to the new pace, and begin to figure out what I should be doing next. The only problem is it is one junk locker after another. I may not know what that specific thing is yet, but I know it ain't what I am seeing here today!

Finally, we come across a locker that looks GREAT to me! I know it is going high though. Lots of brand new tools, several large mystery items, and on the top shelf in the back there are some cases, they look like Pelican gun cases, and right in front is a nice looking set of Taylor Made golf clubs, but all the head covers are on them so you can't tell for sure. The bag is in great shape, and the headcovers indicate he takes care of his stuff, I want this locker! Still, a lot of mystery in the boxes. There are about 6 flat screen boxes stacked neatly and taped shut. You can tell they have been opened before, but could this be inventory? The tools are brand new, and some nice plastic tool boxes are in there. Ah the gamble. I made my mind up, I was going to go $2,000, but I also knew that it was going to pass me up. It did, and as it went up, I thought about going with it. I think the end was $2,800. I was really wanting to know what was in those cases, and I obsessed over it for the rest of the day. Oh well, you gotta pay to find out is what they say right? Well...that is what they say anyway.  8)

The day finished up, I saw nothing I wanted, and I placed one bid all day on a small unit with a roll away tool chest. It went to someone else, I didn't mind. I went home with the same mount of money in my pocket, minus $5.64 at Whataburger, and a smile on my face, all the more wiser and experienced. (I am twice as experienced now right?)

Time to plan for tomorrow (today as of writing). Three is another Public Storage auction, and Round Rock Mini, and Extra Space auctions. I think I will hit the RR and ES and skip PS for today. Tomorrow is the day I want to hit the PS auctions as they are closer to home for me (Cedar Park).

See you out there!

Day 3
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 02:17:38 PM »
Day 3 of the auctions...

1st stop was Round Rock Mini Storage which had 9 units. The only thing worth bidding on was a birdcage I figured I could sell for $75, I stopped bidding at $35, it sold for $50. That was the only thing in that locker. The rest was junk, junk, and more junk. I think one unit went for $150 or something with an old couch and washer and dryer. Whatever, not my thing.

2nd stop was called Safe Storage or something like that. They had 2 units. The first one I wanted, it had some nice antiques in it. Just a bedroom set...but I figured it would resell for $450 if the drawers that were missing happened to be found inside the unit. There weren't many places for the drawers to hide, so I wasn't confident. $300 resell I was confident in with possibly $600. This is the first unit I am really interested in, and I had been talking with a guy named Bill for the last couple of days. Bill spends a lot of money on auctions. Too much in my opinion...but he has it and the resources to store it and back it up, so more power to him. At any rate, I was hoping he would let me have this unit since none of the rest of the crowd was really interested. My last bid was $150 when it was obvious there was no way I was going to get this unit for a decent price, so I told him I would let him have this one but he owes me on the next one. We'll see if that helps me out at any point in time.  ::)

3rd stop was a single unit on my way home anyway. It was boxes, a few toys visible, nerf guns, a dolls foot, obviously nothing valuable showing. Sold to someone for $100...probably a good investment if you like to sell old clothes. Maybe they find something more, who knows. Not my thing.

So, day 3 is a bust. Starting to wonder why I am even in this game. But, I will keep on just in case. Maybe this is a bad run of units here. I am really enjoying talking with most of the people. They have seen me a few times now, so we are warming up to each other a little bit. Plus they realize that I am not looking for what most of them are looking for. Starting to get more interested in my help with their wood furniture which needs repair. Maybe that is my niche...which is cool by me.

Tomorrow is day 2 of the Public Storage caravan for the north area. Maybe I will see you there. Happy Bidding! (and stay out of my units!)  :D


Offline MovieMan

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Re: Day 3
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 02:29:04 PM »
Day 3 of the auctions...

So, day 3 is a bust. Starting to wonder why I am even in this game. But, I will keep on just in case. Maybe this is a bad run of units here.

Whoa !  You've been in it for 3 days and you're "starting to wonder why I am even in this game" ?

"Maybe this is a bad run of units here" ?   I've got a factoid for you: There will be more bad units than there are good units..

You've got to give it some time if you want to get a true picture of what it is all about. I have enjoyed reading your day by day auction experiences, but investing a minimum of going to auctions off and on for at least 3 months would be more in keeping with a true appraisal...6 months to a year would be even better.

Give it some time.

Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 02:43:51 PM »
Oh I am not going away, ever...but I am re-evaluating as I go like any smart person does. What size units do I want? What will be profitable and enjoyable? What can I do to get he prices down, or the value up. or cut down on the expenses of haul and sell? Do I need smaller units, or bigger units? Do I want to spend more on the unit which I am pretty sure of what I can make out of it? How much of a profit do I have to make to be worth moving all that stuff?

All these things are being evaluated constantly, and always will be, but to a newbie, it is a bit more daunting. But if I know that someone who spends big, and likes the same things I do, is going to be there, and running up the units, what is the point in going? I can't out bid him and make a profit, and I don't want what he is passing on. Hopefully he isn't there all the time like he has been this week.

Later for now!

Offline MovieMan

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 03:58:46 PM »
Your whole reply #4 above sounds more like it !  With one small exception...

You're not going away "ever"....that's a big word. If it's time to go it's time to go. We all get there it's just a matter of when.  ;D (yes, I know you're talking about locker am I)

Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 04:08:13 PM »
So now we all know that you, Movie Man, are an engineer, I want to ask you get off on correcting people or do you just want to get your post count up?  :P

Okay, I am revising my "welcome" to "all comments" to welcoming only useful comments that actually benefit, entertain, or otherwise serve some purpose. Otherwise I will have to "always" gather up "all" of my absolute words and use the "all" the time for "every" one of you out there in the "whole" world.  :-[

It is okay Movie Man, I still love you "all" the way.  :-*

Now go auto correct someone else's post and come back when you are ready to be friendly in a normal sense. Otherwise I will quote every word I type and haunt you like that jalapeno Twinkie you ate for dinner.

Offline MovieMan

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 05:02:38 PM »
It will just be easier if I let other people post responses to your notes.

Offline Cobia

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 06:05:32 PM »
I LOVE IT when newbies pull the old "I let you have that one, so remember me on the next one Bull!" What next one? Ain't nobody owe you any respect! You didn't "let" anyone win a unit, you quit bidding! LOL! Anyway, you might not even be around for the NEXT one.  :-*

Don't know how large your auction crowd is, but around here, if the door goes up on an exceptional unit, there is NOOO WAAAY a newbie is going to win it. The 'DAWGS' will run ALL the money out of it before a newbie wins! Better bring your check book and credit cards and car title if you think you are going to win an obvious "jackpot" unit only a week on the scene.  :)

Sounds like you are already treasure hunting, that's cool if that's what you want to do. Just know and I will jump off from what Movieman said about most units being bad. I will say most units aren't bad, but bread & butter, work-a-day, ho-hum, flea market vendor units. 90% of the regulars work these units just so every once and a while they can hit a "jackpot" unit. Understand these guys who have been doing it for 10-15 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, over many years are not going to let you walk up with a wad of cash and grab a great unit, no matter how high you bid.

Good Luck!

Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 07:39:21 PM »
Wow. I remember the days when I felt the need to write about every unit/auction. Everything will work out, either you become a "pro" or you flame out.

Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 09:23:44 PM »
Well I am glad to know I have an audience for my diary as it were. I don't think anyone owes me anything, and I am not trying to be the big dog on the block. I don't care about all that testosterone crap. I am more than happy for everyone else to be the pro. Yeah, I will probably flame out. But hey, at least I am giving it an honest effort. I came into this eyes wide open. What I did not expect was for so many of the people in this business to be so grumpy. I mean, if it is that bad, I don't want to do it anyway.

I have been respectful to the others at the auction, I am not interested in having a storage "war." I am simply looking for something where I can make some money, and have some fun. It is true, from what I am seeing, I probably won't be here in a month. However, when/if I leave, it will be a business decision based on logical factors, and personal preferences. I may keep coming back less often, I may not come back at all. Who knows.

But as long as I have readers, I will keep telling you about it. Who of these days you might be glad you were here. Of course, it may be to watch my demise, but my demise will end with me leaving, not me going broke. I am not the gambler. From what I have seen, that may be my down fall. In the mean time, I will go, learn, take calculated risks, and win them when I can. You don't have to worry about me running you up, or fighting for a unit by overpaying. You can always outbid me. I bring a small stack with me. I will pick and choose. I will look for the units that nobody else wants, but I see value. And if I never again buy another unit, so be it. I can walk away knowing the one time I did, I quintupled up!

Will be at the Public Storage auctions tomorrow. Come outbid me on it all if you like. I really don't mind.

Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 01:07:55 AM »
I'm interested in reading, probably more because i am going through the same thing, I have found that winning the lower cost units has been pretty good for me so far oddly enough.  There are some grumpy people, but I figure that is because they were making a reasonable living off this before the tv shows made the price of units go nuts.  I have wanted to do this even before the shows (which are soooo much BS), and this year my daughter got interested in making money, and I finally owned my own place, so it became reasonable to do.  Its work.  Sorting it, selling it, moving it....its all work.

So yeah they're grumpy, they are having their income go down because of people who watched the shows and thought it was all treasure.  Some of them dont have other skills to make money with, so this has sucked pretty bad for them. 

But this is business.  They know it, but dont like it.  I suspect that they are more annoyed with people that bid things up beyond profitability.  I try and bid at a profit level so I havent won anything but a couple cheap lockers.  Some of the units are being bid so I cant see the profit.  Others...yeah about right.  And those tend to go to the people who have done this for a while.  Sometimes I see a regular bid one pretty high, and I wonder what they saw that I missed. 

I wish I had a shop-maybe when I retire as this has been fun, but I need to focus on my primary job for now. 

Offline MovieMan

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 09:35:18 AM »
I'm interested in reading, probably more because i am going through the same thing, I have found that winning the lower cost units has been pretty good for me so far oddly enough. 

Greywar, your approach works and the rest of your post makes sense to me too. This business takes time to learn and learning is always taking place no matter how long one does it.

For more from Paul, the author of this thread, see his other thread here (link below) if you have not already seen it.
It speaks for itself.

Offline Alias300

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 10:41:09 AM »
IThere are some grumpy people, but I figure that is because they were making a reasonable living off this before the tv shows made the price of units go nuts. 

But this is business.  They know it, but dont like it.  I suspect that they are more annoyed with people that bid things up beyond profitability. 

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

This is business.   Businesses must learn, adapt, evolve....

Negitivity breeds negitivity, contempt  and shortsightedness.   All of which clouds our vision and makes attaining our goals impossible.


I just brush off all the negative people at auctions.  I believe, and have seen it in action, that those who run up bids tend to get run up themselves more often.  They are the ones that no one offers to piece-meal units they've won.  Won't help them move heavy items and facilities won't give them extra days to empty.  (Or like last week, tell them that their truck is about to be towed).

And I'm sure their attitude has driven off potential buyers and people that can make them money by either pointing them to a buyer/outlet, how to repair something, value (appraise) an item......

A lot of us stand around joking, offering each other pastries or grabbing coffee before the next auction.
"Those people" stand alone. 

The only thing they have in their life is the dog in their truck.  A dog eagerly starring out the window hoping today is the day his owner won't come back.

Offline Travis

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Re: My adventures from the beginning
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2013, 02:11:42 AM »
Don't mind the grumpy people, you won't see their hateful stares while you're putting your lock on the unit.   ;)

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